ASEF Junior Fellows 2020
Research Abroad

ASEF Junior Fellows - Research Abroad

Thank you for your interest! Applications for 2020 ASEF Junior Fellowships are now closed. Please return in the Fall of 2020 when a new call will open.

The American Slovenian Education Foundation (ASEF) Junior Fellows program provides fellows with comprehensive support, allowing them to focus on their research at the world’s top universities. ASEF Junior Fellows build lasting relationships between ASEF and academic institutions in the U.S., Canada, U.K., Australia, and New Zealand. The purpose of the fellowship program is to strengthen research and study exchange between Slovenia and other countries with the objective of giving talented Slovenian students the ability to realize their potential to the fullest.
For fullest consideration, materials should be received by December 1, 2019. Beyond that date, applications will be considered on a rolling basis until January 15, 2020.

About ASEF Junior Fellows Program

The ASEF Junior Fellows Program is a three-year program. In the program, students do a 10-week research visit at a university or a research institution in the area of their field of study/expertise. Additionally, Junior Fellows engage in activities organized by ASEF, including research projects and collaborations with other Fellows, leadership, and career development workshops, and attend regular public lectures and other events organized by ASEF. Further, Junior Fellows are expected to contribute to ASEF and give back to the community under the guidance and mentorship of ASEF.
In the first year: Junior Fellows will work with Slovenian professors at the world’s top universities on a research project and interact with other members of the professor’s research group as well as other students at the university. At the same time, the student will also interact with the Slovenians and Slovenian communities abroad.
In the second and third year: Junior Fellows engage in activities organized by ASEF. Furthermore, Fellows are encouraged to continue their research work with their host professor and form collaborations with other Junior Fellows. Additional funds will be available to Fellows to cover the expenses of such collaborations, such as presenting research at international conferences.
During the three-year time, Junior Fellows are full members of ASEF Society of Fellows (click here for details).


Applications are open to full-time students in good standing at an accredited institution of higher education. Applications are open to Slovenian students as well as other students of Slovenian heritage (for example, living in Italy, Austria, Argentina, USA, Canada, Australia, ...). A typical applicant is a senior undergraduate, masters, or PhD student.


ASEF will work with the Junior Fellow to obtain funding so that all expenses of research visit (airfare, food, lodging, etc.) in the first year will be covered.

Participating Institutions

The list of professors and research groups that are members of the ASEF network can be accessed via this link (click here for details on research areas). Each of the professors has open positions to accept one or two students into their research group. We strongly encourage applicants to read about professors and study their research and publications.

Selection Criteria

Applicants are selected based on exceptional ability, originality, and resourcefulness, and should be of the highest caliber of intellectual achievement. Applicants will perform an interview with prior-year’s ASEF Fellows and ASEF Professors will review the research plan, mission statement, and recommendation letters presented in each application. Finally, ASEF Scientific Advisory Committee will also give weight to the many intangibles involved, including interpretation of the Foundation's objectives. The Committee ranks the candidates and the Board of Directors then provides final approval. Those elected receive three-year fellowships.

How to Apply

Submit your online application form online.
Applications should include:
  • Application form (see the form below)
  • Curriculum Vitae with a focus on your research
  • Transcripts of your courses
  • Research Statement (no longer than 2 pages):
    The Research Statement is your chance to personalize your application. When composing the Statement it is important to address the impact that your visit will have on your academic, professional, and personal goals. You should also address the impact that receiving ASEF Junior Fellowship would have on your achievement of these goals. Some key points to keep in mind are:
    • Motivation: Why do you wish to do research abroad and what factors led you to this decision? What do you hope to gain from and what do you anticipate will be the impact of your experience abroad? What initially inspired you to want to do research in this particular area/research group?
    • Previous work/research experience: List and describe your project/research work for courses, participation in research projects, lab work at your department, your independent research, relevant summer internship experience, etc. The goal here is that you describe your experience that makes you the best possible candidate for the professor’s research lab and will allow you to have fruitful and productive research visit.
    • General project/area you would like to work on: A general proposal for a project or an idea for your thesis/dissertation that you want to work on during your visit and how it relates to the research of the professor you are applying to. Describe the project or the idea and argue why you find it interesting. Include a list of scientific references related to your field of research.
  • Mission Statement (1 page):
    The mission statement should give a brief summary of your current and proposed contributions to ASEF Society of Fellows. Those contributions should be aligned with ASEF core values, which are academic excellence, character formation, and dedication service (see FAQ for details). We encourage you to mention any past or current engagements in activities that contribute to the growth of society and foster progress in business, politics, and non-profits (e.g., volunteering in non-profit organizations, participating in outreach activities, leading academic/engineering clubs or student organizations, organizing summer schools for talented young people and tutoring for children). Examples of your future (planned) contributions to ASEF as a Junior Fellow can be:
    • Organizing events together with ASEF, such as public lectures, art exhibitions, music events, literary events, tutorials, and round-table discussions about topics related to society, science, research, and technology.
    • Leading a reading group in ASEF focusing on the area of your field of study/research.
    • Acting as a peer mentor by helping incoming Junior Fellows learn about ASEF, host countries/universities, and by sharing your research experience with them.
    • Community service projects and volunteering to improve your community, strengthen and promote ASEF activities, and help different groups of people. Community service can also involve fundraising events and crowdfunding for causes aligned with ASEF mission and core values.
  • Two reference letters:
    • The letters should clearly describe applicant’s contribution to the research projects that they participated in.
    • The letters should be written by the supervisors/advisors/teachers of past past research projects, summer internships, or diploma/MSc thesis.
All documents (except reference letters) should be submitted by the candidate in the PDF format here.
Letters of reference should be submitted by the reference letter writer here.

If you have questions about the program or the application process, please contact ASEF at

For fullest consideration, materials should be received by December 1, 2019. Beyond that date, applications will be considered on a rolling basis until January 15, 2020.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are the important dates?
Call for applications opens on November 4, 2019. The first closing date is December 1, 2019. Applications received by December 1, 2019, will be reviewed immediately after the closing date. Beyond that date, applications will be considered on a rolling basis until January 15, 2020. Final decisions will be made by March 1, 2020.
When will the research visit take place?
The exact time of the research visit is flexible and will be discussed with the particular research group and the professor. Generally, most visits tend to take place during the summer (June to September) with some exceptions. Importantly, visits must end in calendar year 2020.
Do students need health insurance?
Students need health insurance. In some cases, your host/professor/University will provide health insurance or other cases you will be responsible for it. Please check with your professor. If you need to get insurance yourself you can obtain it at Coris Adriatic Slovenica or Vzajemna.
How will the expenses of the research visit be covered?
ASEF will work with Junior Fellows to identify funding sources to help cover all expenses of the research visit: airfare, housing, and living expenses. Whenever possible, students will stay with a Slovenian family and then work with the professor at a university.
What are the Junior Fellow’s responsibilities and obligations to ASEF?
Junior Fellows are appointed to ASEF Society of Fellows for three years. During that time they are expected to regularly attend all of the Society events, public lectures and other events organized by ASEF. Further, fellows participate in ASEF promotional activities, help advertise ASEF Fellowship programs, and act as peer mentors to incoming fellows by helping them learn about the culture of their host country. Junior Fellows are highly encouraged to engage in activities, including research projects and collaborations with other Junior Fellows, professors and research groups in the ASEF network, leadership and career development workshops, communication training, and coaching.
Who were past ASEF Junior Fellows?
Summer 2019: (Click Here For More Information)
- Jaš Bensa (prof. Kristjan Haule, Rutgers University)
- Mariša Cvitanič (prof. Jernej Ule, Institute Francis Crick)
- Klemen Drnovšek (prof. Nives Dolšak, Washington University)
- Marko Drobnjak (prof. Gašper Beguš, Washington University)
- Lara Dular (prof. Sanja Fidler, University Toronto)
- Benjamin Fele (prof. Dawn Song, Berkeley University, California)
- Anžej Hladnik (prof. Matija Peterlin, UCSF)
- Tanja Janko (prof. Dimitri Krainc, Northwestern University)
- Lara Jerman (prof. Mateja Jamnik, University of Cambridge)
- Domen Kanduti (prof. Janina Golob Deeb, Virginia Commonwealth University)
- Primož Kocbek (prof. Jure Leskovec, Stanford University)
- Nejc Kosanič (prof. Andrej Prša, Villanova University)
- Juš Kosmač (prof. Jernej Barbič, University of Southern California)
- Taja Ložar (prof. Robert Jeraj, University of Wisconsin Madison)
- Urška Matjašec (prof. Mateja Jamnik, Cambridge University)
- Jakob Murko (prof. Jure Leskovec, Stanford University)
- Pia Marija Oblak (prof. Jernej Murn, University of California, Riverside)
- Jana Obšteter (prof. Gregor Gorjanc, University of Edinburgh)
- Andraž Oštrek (prof. David Sarlah, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign)
- Damjan Panić (prof. Domen Novak, University of Wyoming)
- Uroš Prešern (prof. Andrej Šali, UCSF)
- Lenart Škrjanc (prof. Janina Golob Deeb, Virginia Commonwealth)
- Aljaž Suhadolnik (prof. Matevž Raškovič, University of Wellington, Victoria)
- Anja Tušar (prof. Boštjan Kobe, Queensland University)
- Urša Uršič (prof. Boštjan Kobe, Queensland University)
- Sabina Veršič (prof. Tina Saksida in prof. Nuša Fain, Prince Edward Island University & Queen's University)

Summer 2018: (Click Here For More Information)
- Lucija Dežan (University of Oklahoma, Political Science)
- Lara Gubeljak (University of Utah, Medicine)
- Barbara Ikica (Stanford University, Computer Science)
- Petra Janež (Georgetown University, Law)
- Erik Janežič (University of Toronto, Computer Science)
- Peter Kmecl (University of Wyoming, Electrial Engineering)
- Petra Kukanja (UC San Francisco, Molecular Biology)
- Luka Lapajne (University of Utah, Medicine)
- Blaž Leban (Villanova University, Astrophysics)
- Matevž Marinčič (Princeton University, Mechanical Engineering)
- Nina Mrzelj (Stanford University, Computer Science)
- Kristjan Nemac (University of Washington Seattle, Marine and Environmental Affairs)
- Rok Razpotnik (UC Riverside, Molecular Biology)
- Aba Reberc (University of Sheffield, Political Science)
- Jakob Robnik (UC Berkeley, Physics)
- Marko Rus (UC Berkeley, Computer Science)
- Aleks Smolkovič (University of Cincinnati, Physics)
- Anja Sotošek (Virginia Commonwealth University, Dentistry)
- Jan Zavodnik (Princeton University, Mechanical Engineering)

Summer 2017: (Click Here For More Information)
- Gorazd Čibej (Harvard University, Law)
- Teja Golobič (Cleveland State University, Law)
- Kaj Jež (University of Washington Seattle, Marine and Environmental Affairs)
- Žiga Gosar (Princeton University, Mechanical Engineering)
- Jaka Kukavica (Georgetown University, Law)
- Urška Lampret (University of Sheffield, Political Science)
- Marija Lukič (Virginia Commonwealth University, Dentistry)
- Tilen Marc (Stanford University, Computer Science)
- Aleš Omerzel (UC Berkeley, Computer Science)
- Ajda Rojc (UC San Francisco, Biology)
- Luka Starčevič (Princeton University, Mechanical Engineering)
- Robert Vidmar (UC San Francisco, Biology)
- Angelika Vižintin (University of Cincinnati, Evolutionary Biology)
- Patrik Zajec (Stanford University, Computer Science)

Summer 2016: (Click Here For More Information)
- Aleksandar Dimitriev (Stanford University, Computer Science)
- Veronika Cencen (Princeton University, Mechanical Engineering)
- Vid Kocijan (Stanford University, Computer Science)
- Neven Polajnar (Harvard University, Political Science)
- Joze Rožanec (UC Berkeley, Computer Science)
- Jan Rozman (Princeton University, Mechanical Engineering)
- Matej Srebre (UC Berkeley, Physics)
- Kaja Travnik (Harvard University, Political Science)
- Matej Vizovišek (UC San Francisco, Biology)

Summer 2015: (Click Here For More Information)
- Aljaž Gaber (UC San Francisco, Biology)
- Filip Kozarski (UC Berkeley, Astrophysics)
- Andraž Hribernik (Stanford, Computer Science)
- Peter Us (UC Berkeley, Computer Science)

Summer 2014: (Click Here For More Information)
- Matej Cepin (University of Santa Clara, Social studies)
- Niko Colnerič (Stanford, Computer Science)
- Marinka Žitnik (Stanford, Computer Science)

Feel free to reach out to them directly and ask them about their experiences.

What are the core values of ASEF?
The core values of ASEF are academic excellence, character formation, and dedicated service. ASEF is committed to these core values, which guide us in carrying out our mission and realizing our vision.

  • Academic Excellence: We seek an uncompromising standard of excellence in teaching, learning, creativity, and scholarship within and across disciplines.
  • Character Formation: We seek to form the whole person: men and women distinguished by intellectual rigor, moral character, community building and the ability to make ethical decisions.
  • Dedicated Service: We seek to prepare global citizens who advocate for the benefit of humanity and contribute to the intellectual, economic, religious and cultural vitality of society by serving those with the least access to power and privilege in order to promote the flourishing of all.
What is ASEF Society of Fellows?
Please read this document to learn about ASEF Society of Fellows, its program and activities, and a statement of ideals for new members of the Society.

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